No, what she needed was to find out where Ethan was, and to do that she needed to connect to him again. She glanced back through the woods towards the house. Unfortunately that meant returning to the scene of the ‘crime’: her bed. She needed to sleep, and she needed to hope that in her dreams, Ethan would inadvertently lead her to her friend.

24 - Resolve

“She sounds impressive, Marion,” Vanne mused begrudgingly, his eyes flicking to his wife as if to see if she agreed. Marion waited. If anyone thought Marion was hard to impress they hadn’t met her sister. Marita was the most difficult person to please in the Coven. That proved intolerable at times… considering she was the Head of it.

Sometimes Marion thanked Gaia for sending a magik with Vanne’s stubborn patience to deal with her. Her gaze lingered on him for a moment too long.


She looked away as Marita held her husband’s gaze, the connection between them evident. Marita nodded. “Somewhat, yes.”

Sighing, Marion reached for her coffee, and then eased back into the huge sofa that faced its twin on which Vanne lounged casually. As per usual Marita acted the diva queen, perched primly on a Reproduction Louis XIV chair at the head of the coffee table. Her sister’s suite was an amusing clash of tastes – Vanne’s rustic coziness and Marita’s stern elegance.

“I said I would return to the pack as soon as I could. With Jaeden’s kidnapping I’m sure Ethan’s closing in. Perhaps reinforcements?” she queried casually.

Marita sniffed. “If what you say is true then surely Caia will sense the Midnight’s attack before it happens. Reinforcements will be sent then. For now, we are struggling to deal with infighting in Italy over territory between the largest packs in the North, a potential rogue Daylight magik in Caithness, and we’ve received Intel that there is a planned attack against the Króls.”

Marion’s mouth fell open. “The New York Króls?”


Vanne nodded, his lips pressed thin with tension. The Króls were one of the largest vampyre covens in the United States and a highly respected, powerful member of Daylight. That the Midnights would even contemplate such a direct attack reinforced their fears that the war was picking up speed again.

“I see.” She sighed wearily. “I will return with Saffron then, and continue my training with Caia, hoping for the best that her heritage pulls through in time to save the pack. I think perhaps I will-”

Marita made this humming noise at the back of her throat, a warning that she was after something. Marion stopped talking and waited for her sister to speak.

Marita smiled appreciatively. “I was just thinking.”

“Yes?” she and Vanne drawled at the same time.

“Well, I understand that Caia will wish to stay with the pack until this business with her friend is concluded. However, I think it would be best for the Coven if Caia is brought back here to continue her training.”

Marion shook her head. “I don’t know about that, Marita. Cai-”

“Here me out,” her sister interrupted impatiently. “If Caia is going to be this important in the war it stands to reason that she should be brought to the Center, where she can benefit from our best magik’s training.”

“What are you saying? That I am incapable of training her?”

Her sister seemed to realize her insult and actually blanched. “Goddess, no sister. I wouldn’t have allowed you to be Caia’s protector all this time if I hadn’t thought you were capable. I merely meant that she should be with those who share her magikal abilities, and with those who are heading this damn war against the Midnights. What’s the use of having a weapon at our disposal if it’s not at our disposal?”

Vanne cleared his throat and straightened in his seat. “I agree with Marita, Marion. The girl should be brought back here.”

“The girl,” Marion replied between clenched teeth, “Is as much a lykan as she is a magik.”

“So.” Her sister shrugged. “We have plenty of lykans at the Center. And vampyres and faeries. Caia should become acquainted with her allies if she is to help lead us to victory.”

Although Marion could understand her logic, it grated that her sister was happy to forget that the girl in question was exactly that - a being with thoughts and feelings, not merely a weapon at their disposal. If Marion’s suspicions of Caia’s magik were realized, her sister and husband better hope in Hades that Caia came down on their side of the war. Not that she sensed any darkness in Caia.

The opposite in fact, which was comforting.

However, this was not her argument against her sister’s proposition. “I think you’ve forgotten the part where Caia is mated to Pack Errante’s Alpha. I doubt he would be happy to have his mate carted across seas, out of his reach.”

She smirked at their silence.

“I see you had.”

If she thought that was going to stop her sister she was wrong.

“It doesn’t matter.” Marita shrugged. “It will be up to the girl. Explain to Caia our wishes, and explain all the benefits of her coming to us, to the Center. We won’t force her-”

“You wouldn’t dare,” Marion drew a breath. “That would be idiotic.”

Her sister snapped back as if she had been slapped. “You forget yourself.”

“I do not. You may be the Head of this coven but I am still your blood and I refuse to bend to you when you spew nonsense.”

She barely listened to her sister rail at her about insubordination and yaddah yaddah yaddah. Vanne yawned. As sisters, with only a year between them, they had been arguing from the crib.

“Marita,” Marion cut her off mid spewing. “Calm yourself, and remember how delicate this situation with Caia is. I will return to the pack and to Caia’s training and I will offer her the Center as an option. But if she refuses and wishes to stay with the pack and with Lucien, then that will be her will. With her tracing magik she can fight a war against the Midnights from any location.”

Her sister glared at her, looked to her husband for support, and then turned back with a regal nod. “Fine.”

Marion smiled softly and was about to reach for another sip of coffee when her sister said quietly but authoritatively, “But weave your words with persuasion little sister. I want that girl here so I can see her capabilities for myself.”

Caia groaned as soon as she entered the kitchen and was appraised by Ella and Irini. Their wide eyes travelled over her body and she flinched inwardly. She had forgotten that when two lykans mated, the other’s scent clung newly to their skin so that other lykans would know they had been claimed.

She reeked of Lucien.

“Morning,” she mumbled, her cheeks two bright red flags as she slid into a seat at the table.

Ella cleared her throat, “I take it you know, then?”

Caia nodded and grasped for the orange juice without looking at either of them.

“Lucien told us,” Irini explained quietly.

“As if he would have had to.”

They didn’t reply, they just let her gulp at her juice.

“He said you’re angry?” Ella prodded.

Caia nodded her head in answer but refused to say anything. She almost smiled at the tendrils of frustration that whispered out of mother and daughter.

“He’s already called around the rest of the pack and explained the situation.”

Orange juice flew everywhere.

“He what?”

Irini shrugged. “He had to. You wouldn’t believe some of the grumblings. They don’t like being left out of the loop.”

“What?” Caia actually laughed at that as she jumped to her feet. “They don’t like being left out of the loop?” She shook her head at the audacity of it and strode out of the kitchen without another word. Hearing Irini’s chase she flicked her hand behind her shoulder, enjoying the sound of the kitchen door slamming closed and cutting off Irini’s trail.

“Ugh!” she heard Irini’s shriek. “Damn her magik!”

Caia did chuckle then, grabbing her book bag and dashing out of the house. As she drove to school she managed to tame an anger that fought to rise. There was no time for anger. This morning she had awoken with one purpose, and that was to concentrate her all into saving Jaeden. Lucien needed to be tucked to the back of her brain and this whole mating fiasco thrown out of the window. She may be able to trust Lucien when it came to pack politics and maybe even this business with war, but she didn’t think she could hand over her heart into his safekeeping. The truth was, after she had fallen asleep last night, she had returned into her connection with Ethan. She could feel the house he was in, Jaeden in the basement below him; she could feel his frustration and anxiety over something, and the more he paced towards the doorway of the home, the closer the fingers of her trace reached for his location. She was close to finding him, she knew it. And with that certainty came the realization that Marion was most probably right about her part in the war. Maybe not now but soon Caia was going to be a frontline soldier, and love just didn’t come into that equation.

No matter how good Lucien’s scent felt on her skin.

“Caia.” Sebastian was at her side as soon as she stepped out of the car. He inhaled and then paled, his eyes flashing their hurt. “It’s true.”

Damn, she had forgotten to expect this reaction. “No, it’s not.”

His eyes widened and he glanced behind him to Mal and the others crowded around the SUV. By the lecherous smirk on Mal’s face, and the fury on Alexa’s, her scent had already drifted up wind to them and they knew the truth of what their parents had told them this morning.

“But you smell like him,” Sebastian replied in confusion, his expression wounded.

“It was a mistake. And please don’t look at me like that.”

“But you did...” he trailed off.

Not wanting to go into the details of that with him, Caia shrugged past him, heading towards school. “Yes. I was upset OK, it just happened. I did not expect to find myself spiritually and fertilely bound to Lucien.”

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