Part 1 by Lori Connelly
Part 2 by Aileen Harkwood
Part 3 by Elise Forier Edie
Part 4 by Paty Jager
Part 5 by Ciara Gold
Part 6 by Traci Douglass
Of The Storm, Part 7:
“None of this makes sense.” She pressed a hand to her forehead, the annoying ache from earlier making it difficult to think. “We’re human. That’s all. We’re not some kind of sídhe royalty.” Their blood was too diluted.
“You know we’re not simply human.” Makani sat in the corner, absently fingering the ring on her hand. “Blaike said—”
“Blaike is a demon, Makani.” Amaya whirled on her heels to keep from strangling her sister. “Right now, I don’t trust anyone, least of all a demon. You know what he did to you two years ago. I can’t believe you were seeing him again and you didn’t think to mention it to me.”
“Tasaria was blackmailing him into obtaining the Torc then. He was supposed to seduce me, deceive me into giving it to him. Instead, he fell in love with me and went to war with Tasaria, risking everything to protect me. To protect us. You saw what happened tonight.”
Blaike’s army had surrounded them, not with menace, but in protection. It made no sense, unless everything Makani believed was true.
Makani stood, her warm hand settling on Amaya’s arm. Her voice softened. “Years ago Tasaria sent Brishen to try to get the Torc from you, only he fell in love with you the first moment he saw you. Brishen knew the best way to protect you was to lie to Tasaria and pretend you and he felt only disdain for each other. After Blaike declared war on Tasaria, Bri went to him in secret and began feeding him information to help defeat the queen. Anyway. After they both failed to bring her the Torc, she began planning to take it by force this Samhain. She’s power mad and wants to be ruler of both the human and sídhe dimensions. Blaike and Brishen have secretly been working together to protect us for longer than either of us have been aware, Amaya. Trust me.”
“What? No.” Amaya shook her head, scowling at her sister. “Bri doesn’t love me.” He’d never attempted to seduce her. Not once. Not even when she'd wanted him to, if she were honest with herself.
“He’s still alive, sis. So is Blaike. I feel it. Don’t you?” Makani moved her hand to Amaya’s chest, where the heartbeat beneath seemed to kick up its pace thinking about Bri. "Tasaria needs them alive as leverage to force us to do the ritual. They might be wounded, but they're alive."
Yes. Amaya did feel some sort of connection to Bri. Felt his life source thrumming through her veins, faint, but there. How she knew it was his, she had no idea.
Bri’s words echoed through her thoughts. The Torc was infused with the blood of the True Seelie King, binding it forever to those pure rulers of the bloodline.
“Makani, if we’re the pure rulers of the bloodline…” They should have use of the same magic as, perhaps even stronger than Tasaria's.
Her sister’s mouth curved into a knowing smile. “Now she gets it.” She lifted her hand and the ring glinted unnaturally in the light. “The amulet and Torc aren’t the only artifacts in our possession that have power. Blaike infused my ring with a protection spell, too.”
A surge of hope raced along Amaya's nerve endings, and something else. Something electric had stirred inside her. Magic. Now if she could only remember all of the books she'd been forced to study so she knew how to use it.
The door opened, and one of Tasaria’s behemoth guards, weapon at the ready, glanced between them. “The queen requests your presence at the Seelie Court.”
Amaya watched as her sister—her fun-loving, often self-absorbed and flighty older sister—lifted the ring, murmured a chant, and crumpled the hulking guard to the ground without batting an eyelash. Flipping her hair, Makani turned to her.
“Now. Why don’t we go rescue our men and claim our throne once and for all?”