“Well,” Marion said briskly, catching his murderous look. “I better head out and clean up the mess. You two get Caia back to the house.”

The throbbing pain in her stomach woke her up with a start. It felt like her lower belly was on fire. “Ow.” She trembled, opening her eyes and reaching for where it hurt, but just as quickly as she moved, her hands were clasped tightly away from her torso.

“Caia, don’t.”

“Lucien?” she asked, wincing at the pain. “It hurts.”

“I know, querida, I know. Marion will be back any time now, I’m sure she can take care of the pain.”

“What happened?”

“You don’t remember?”

Slowly, painfully, Caia peeled her eyes open. She was lying in her bed. Lucien was sitting beside her, her wrists clasped gently in his hands. He had a blood smear on his cheek and his eyes were filled with something she had never seen before.

Lucien was scared.

She tried to reach for his cheek, concerned. “You’re bleeding.”


He just shook his head. “Not my blood.”

“Sss,” she hissed, another rip of pain lancing across her stomach. “Daemon.”

“You do remember.”

Yeah, she remembered alright. The bastard tore her stomach open. She tried to pull at her wrists to inspect her wound but Lucien held firm.

“My stomach, Lucien,” she complained, hating the fear in her voice.

“It’s OK. Marion closed the wound but you’re still weak from blood loss, not to mention burning a fever.”

Caia slumped back against her pillows, exhausted from that little attempt at movement and in a blinding agony that rippled through all her nerve endings. She curled her toes down into the mattress her fingers mirroring the action, as if anchoring into the bed would take away the pain. “Where is Marion? I think I need drugs.”

He chuckled softly, letting go of her hands and tenderly brushing her hair back from her face. She opened her eyes to gaze up at him as he bent over her, and again she was taken aback by the emotion roiling in his silver gaze and off of his body. “She’ll be here soon. She’s cleaning up the mess you made in the mall lot.”

Of course. And it was quite a mess. The Daylight Coven would have her killed if a human happened by the dead daemon and the upturned car.

“I uh, guess you heard about the car,” she whispered sheepishly.

Lucien snorted. “Heard? I saw it. Really, Caia, did you have to destroy the car I gave you? I know you’re mad at me... but it was brand new.”

She cracked a smile and then remembered in the pain that, yeah, she was supposed to be mad at him.

“Ah no.” He shook his head comically. “You smiled, you can’t take that back.”

“It’s my smile, I can do anything I want to.” But she couldn’t stop herself from smiling weakly again. It was nice to have him near.

Quirking an eyebrow, he shifted even closer and leaned over her. “Does that mean that you forgive me?”

“Well...” Caia groaned, “A daemon almost killed me tonight. What you did seems paltry in comparison.”

She had meant it as a joke, but Lucien’s eyes darkened and he drew in a sharp breath. “I nearly lost you.”

Caia didn’t know how to reply to that. It was the first time she had seen him so lost looking... and all because she gotten hurt. As she gazed at him, wishing she could read his mind, Lucien slowly lowered his head and pressed a soft, sweet kiss to her lips. When he pulled back the look of anguish still strained his expression.

“Hey,” she cracked, wincing again at the sharpness in her wound. “No taking advantage of the patient.”

“My thoughts exactly.”

Marion suddenly swooped into the room and nudged a reluctant Lucien out of the way. “OK.” She smiled softly at Caia, taking her by the chin gently. “Well, you gave us quite a fright young lady.”

“You should see the other guy.”

“Oh I did.” She laughed. “Quite an impressive decapitation.”

“Well, you know – aahhhh… OK, drugs would be good now.”

What followed was a spell that Caia wished she had been more in the frame of mind to pay attention to. Whatever Marion was doing the room smelled thickly of...

“What is that?” Lucien asked from the corner of the room, where he now stood with a worried Ella, Irini and Magnus.

“Partly it’s Malaysian Kratom. I’m using a spell to run it into Caia’s blood stream. It’s a natural pain killer and I’ve amped it up a little with some magik so that the pain should completely disappear.”

“The pain is completely disappearing,” Caia vouched, feeling a little loopy.

“Uh, is it making her high?” Irini asked worriedly.

“Oh no, that’s just the magik. That’ll wear off in a few minutes.”

Marion was right. A few minutes later and Caia couldn’t feel a thing. She pushed herself up into a sitting position, batting away the many arms that tried to still her movements. And then she took a deep breath and lifted her pj top to inspect her stomach. A deep diagonal slash marred her pale skin but she could see with relief that it was already healing and should be non-existent in a few days.

“How are you feeling?”

She couldn’t even tell which one of them said it. Maybe all of them. As her weary eyes took in the sight of her family gazing at her in concern, she thought of the people who weren’t here. “You have to call Ryder and Dimitri.”

Lucien frowned and strode towards her, ignoring Marion who was trying to keep the bed clear. “Why?”

“I was coming to you for a reason, Lucien.” She blinked and looked behind him at Marion and the others. “I dreamt of Jaeden and Ethan again. I know where he is.”

A collective hush fell over the room.

“You’re sure?” Lucien almost vibrated with excitement.



Caia shook her head. “He’s about a day and a half drive from here. I can show you on a map.”

He nodded sharply and pulled his cell out of his jeans. “I’ll bring them home.”

“Caia! Caia!”


They all turned to hear footsteps thomping up the stairs. Lucien groaned, “Who called him?”

Irini shrugged. “He’s her friend. I thought she would want him here.”

It was sweet of her, but Caia really didn’t want any more people worrying about her. Sebastian almost fell into the room, his eyes widening when he took her in lying on the bed. He ignored everyone else, practically shoved Lucien out of the way, and collapsed on the bed next to her. “Caia Ribeiro, I’m going to kill you,” he vowed hoarsely and then dragged her into his arms for a tight hug.

They both ignored the warning growl from Lucien.

“Seb, I’m fine.” Caia pulled back from him smiling. “Really.”

“Irini said it was a daemon.” His eyes were huge with awe. “You killed a daemon?”

“Yeah, but he got a lucky swing in,” she joked again, uncomfortable with all the attention.

Sebastian drew in a sharp breath. “Let me see,” he demanded and when she made no move he huffed. “Caia let me see you’re OK.” When again she made no move his hands went to the hem of her top as if to lift it and in two seconds he was off the bed and pinned to the wall next to it.

“Touch her again and I will kill you,” Lucien snarled into his face.

“Lucien.” Caia threw off her bed covers, ready to pull him off. That sent everyone into pandemonium. Marion swooped down on her tut-tutting, while Irini and Ella shouted at Lucien to let go of Sebastian. Magnus was the only one to stay calm. He strode forward and peeled Lucien off the boy without breaking a sweat.

“Overreacting much.” Magnus smirked, holding him back.

Caia had to admit she was impressed with Sebastian. He just shrugged his t-shirt back into place and frowned calmly at his Pack Leader. “I only wanted to check her wound.”

Lucien shook Magnus off, who came over to Caia to make sure she was OK. She nodded numbly at her uncle but kept her eyes on the two males who looked ready to battle it out. And over her. Oh goddess it was like an episode of The Vampire Diaries, she groaned.

“She doesn’t need you checking her wound. You’re not her mate.”

Sebastian smirked. “Well, neither are you, apparently.”

Magnus had his arms clamped across Lucien like a vice before he could swipe his claws out at the young male. Even Magnus was frowning at Sebastian now. “Show some respect you damn pup. That’s your Alpha you’re deliberately bating.”

The smirk slipped from Sebastian’s face but he still looked less than deferential. “My apologies,” he bit out and then turned to look back at Caia. “Sorry if I upset you.” That at least sounded more sincere.

Caia nodded. “Look, let’s forget about it. I’m OK. OK? And I know where Jaeden is.” She grinned and flushed at the beaming grin of appreciation and love that Sebastian threw back at her.

“I knew you would find her,” he breathed reverently.

“You’ve seen she’s alright. You - leave now,” Lucien demanded in a stony voice.

The young lykan turned back to his Pack Leader and then flicked his gaze back to Caia, questioningly. She groaned inwardly. She couldn’t believe Sebastian would even attempt to deny his Alpha over her. The trembling tension in Lucien’s muscles and the winds of possessiveness that blew from his body told Caia all she needed to know. “I think you better go, Sebastian. Thank you for coming though.”

His face fell but he nodded and with one last act of defiance, pressed a tender kiss on her forehead. “You’ll be OK?” he whispered intimately.

She nodded frantically, feeling Lucien’s anger building. “I will. I’ll call with any news,” she promised and sent him a silent message with her eyes. He would be in on the search for Jaeden too; she would make sure of it.

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