“They’ve had Jaeden for weeks.”

An unexpected growl erupted from Magnus, and Ella squeezed his hand tightly, trying to rein in his angry shock.

Caia was angry too, but at the moment confusion won out. “How weeks? I... I sensed something different in Jaeden’s trace today so I assumed that...” her voice cracked, “I assumed that she had been taken recently.”

Dimitri snapped around to look at her, his dark eyes blazing angrily as he snarled, “What do you mean you sensed something different?”

She stumbled back under the force of his fury. “I just thought something was off... but-”

“You knew!” he yelled and moved towards her. Lucien jumped in between them, his hand halting Dimitri, his teeth bared and a low menacing growl purred in his throat. Caia’s heart raced frantically.

“It was the transition,” Marion’s mellow voice broke some of the tension. They all turned to her as she walked calmly into the room, her gaze on Caia. “With her powers under control, her senses have opened up. Caia would not have sensed the unfamiliar trace on Jaeden until afterwards. And as far as I’m aware this was their first meeting since Caia became aware of her heritage and started training with me.”

Dimitri seemed to relax and Lucien followed suit. He moved to stand beside Caia, though, proclaiming his position as her protector. For once she was glad of his nearness.

“How long has Jaeden been gone exactly?” Ella asked softly.

Lucien hissed, “According to that thing downstairs she was kidnapped and replaced two weeks after Caia’s return.”


Oh my –

Caia’s head swam with the news, and she grabbed her stomach feeling nauseated. She had only known Jaeden – the real Jaeden – for two weeks. Her best friend had been some scheming faerie bitch from Hades! Oh Jaeden. She whimpered inwardly, as images of her friend in a cage burned behind her eyelids.

Magnus stood up from the kitchen table. “We need to start a search. Did she tell you anything?”

Lucien nodded, pain flitting across his face. “She gave Jaeden to Ethan. She wouldn’t give us a location, but she hinted he wasn’t too far away. Obviously Dimitri and Christian will be in on the search and I’m going to send Ryder and Aidan with them.”

“Shouldn’t you send more?” Caia practically whispered, concern crinkling her forehead.

He shook his head. “No. I don’t know what Ethan’s plans are. She refused to say anything more-”

“Refused?” she interrupted, noting his use of past tense.

He shrugged, obviously no longer bothered by what he had had to do now he understood the reality of the faerie’s crimes. “Marion’s spoken to the Daylight Coven. She’s not a useful POW if she’s not talking, so they told Saffron to take care of her.”

Her eyes widened and she gulped, glancing towards the hallway. After everything she had been through it took the fact that downstairs in the basement there was a dead faerie - an executed faerie – for her to fully comprehend what their war meant. She had a feeling that this was just the beginning.

“Anyway,” Lucien sounded weary now, “She wouldn’t tell us what he plans. So I’m staying here, and so is Magnus, to protect the pack. I’m afraid it will just have to be enough that I’m sending my strongest males out to find her.”

“It is,” Dimitri assured hoarsely.

“Right, we better get ready then-”

“I’m sorry to stop you all,” Marion interrupted again in that soothing voice. “But you all seemed to have missed a very pertinent fact. Understandable under the circumstances.”

Annoyed at the interruption, no one said anything. Caia tensed up, however, when Marion’s gaze rested on her once again.

“If you have learned anything in the last few days, you should remember that only a faerie can sense another faerie’s trace with the exception of the Head of the Coven it belongs to.”

“What are you getting at?” Dimitri snapped, his patience nonexistent.

“Caia sensed the faerie’s trace.”

A silence descended across the room as the weight of her meaning fell upon their shoulders.

“It’s not possible,” Caia whispered.

Marion nodded, a smile playing on her lips. “Not only sensed the faerie, but with a single touch, garnered much about that faerie including the conditions of Jaeden’s kidnapping.” She shrugged. “Adriana was the heir to the Midnight Coven and you are her daughter.”

“What does this mean?” Ella asked flabbergasted.

“It means we know how desperate Ethan is.” Marion strode further into the room. “He’s not the Head of the Midnight Coven, and the Coven has no clue. It also means that he has none of the powers which accompany it.”

“Such as?”

Caia wasn’t even sure who asked that. Her brain was overloading on information and a cold sweat was breaking out across the top of her skin.

“In time Caia should be able to trace every member of the Midnight Coven, no matter where they are.”

It was like a bomb that kept on exploding.

“Don’t you see?” Marion was getting excited now. “This is Gaia’s plan. The Midnights won’t be able to attack anyone without Caia knowing exactly when and where. The war will eventually come to an end once they know there is no hope of victory.”

Caia trembled at Marion’s announcement. “Wait. Wait.” She shook her head, terrified by the hope that seemed to be blooming in all of their eyes. “I don’t feel anything. I only sensed some trace. I can’t even tell you where Ethan is. If what you say is true I should be able to do that!”

Marion shook her head refusing to be wrong. “It’s something that will come with time, I don’t know how long. But you are the rightful Head of the Coven.”

“I think I’m going to be sick.”

She felt Lucien’s hand clasp her shoulder and in her weakness she took comfort from him.

Dimitri cleared his throat, “This is good news. But I need to move and get my daughter back.”

Caia was busy reeling, her gaze on the floor, as she heard him stride towards the hallway. “Caia?” She looked up at him as his eyes blazed back at her from the doorway. “If what Marion says is true... if these powers come to you... you’ll inform me right away of Ethan’s whereabouts?”

“Dimitri-” she wanted to protest. She didn’t want anyone’s hopes high because she didn’t believe for one second she was capable of the kind of power that Marion was hinting at. However, one look at those eyes, eyes that not too long ago had held strength and warmth and were now shattered by guilt and fear, Caia could only nod. “Of course.”

Knowing members of the pack were out searching for Jaeden and she could not made Caia feel useless. She had changed and run through the woods for hours in the hope that it would do something for her angry restlessness, but by the time she crawled through her bedroom window she was even angrier, felt even more useless. But most heavily weighing on her shoulders was the guilt. If she hadn’t returned to the pack none of this would have happened. Sighing, she peeled back her covers and slid in between her cool sheets. If only there was a way to get in contact with Ethan. To trade herself for Jaeden. Surely he would go for that. If what Marion said was true then Ethan needed her out of the picture in order to be the true Head of the Coven. She moaned and turned onto her side, gazing out into the woods. Could she sacrifice herself for the pack? An image of Jaeden in the cage sent pain shooting through her chest. The image was replaced with something that knocked the breath right out of her body.

Lucien. Dead. Trying to protect her.

Hell yeah, she could sacrifice herself for the pack.

“Jaeden, where are you?” She tried to see through the darkness. Wherever she was smelled of sewage, but underneath the stench was the smell of damp earth and... fear. “Jaeden!” she yelled now.

A flame suddenly lit up in front of her, illuminating a small part of the room - enough to show the corner of what looked to be a cage to her far right.

“Jae.” She stumbled towards it, but the flame went out, bringing her to a standstill in complete darkness again. “Jae?”

A whimper.

“Oh goddess,” Caia breathed, her panic easing somewhat at the sound of her friend’s nearness. Carefully, she lowered herself to the damp floor and started crawling on her hands and knees towards where she thought the cage was.

“Ow,” she whined, as her nose came up against cold bars, bringing stinging tears to her eyes. “Jaeden?” She couldn’t see anything but she could smell Jaeden, and the area in front of her was rife with fear.

Another whimper. Closer now. Much closer.

“It’s me. Caia.”

Suddenly another flame burst inside the cage illuminating Jaeden, who was curled up in a fetal position at the back of the cage, her back beginning to heal from long diagonal burns that scored her from shoulder to hip.

“Oh... Jaeden!” Caia cried, pulling at the bars in desperation. She scrambled around the cage looking for a way in, but there was no doors, no lock. She braced her feet against the bottom of the cage and pulled at the bars with every last drop of strength she had.

“Aaahhhhrrrrggggh!” She growled in frustration as the bars refused to give.

“Jaeden?” She heaved out of breath. “Jaeden, it’s Caia. Can you hear me?”

Her friend made no move, just continued to shudder and whimper, unaware of her presence.


“Caia,” a voice called from behind her. She turned to look but there was only darkness. “Caia.”

“Caia, wake up.”

Slowly the dankness of the basement faded to nothing and she pushed her eyelids open with effort. Lucien stood looking down at her, his forehead creased with concern, his silver eyes sad.

“What?” She shook her head in confusion and pushed herself up against her headboard. Lucien was on her bed, his hands stroking her hair back.

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