Beside him, his mate fell to her knees. His frown deepened. Kenna? She blinked up at him, her expression one of utter shock. Then he saw the red blooming across her T-shirt. Panic raced through him and his wolf. Shit. He dropped to his knees and cupped her face. Kenna, it’s okay.
NIGHT OWL: Yes. Time is moving fast. I’m watching the next one on my list. I want to do it soon.NIGHT OWL: Positive. Can I trust you to organise things?
There was a pause. A bubble popped up, saying ‘DUKE typing…’ Then it vanished.NIGHT OWL: Good. I’ll be waiting. This one won’t know what’s hit him.Darkness was falling as Erika stepped out of the shower. She wrapped herself in a towel and padded barefoot through to the bedroom, flicking on the light. She’d rented a small ground-floor flat in what was an old manor house in Forest Hill. It was tucked back from the main road on a leafy street. She’d been in the flat for six months, but it was still bare, as if she’d just moved in. The bedroom was clean but spartan.
Erika went to a chest of drawers and looked at her reflection in the gilt-framed mirror propped on top. The face staring back at her didn’t exactly inspire confidence. Her short blonde hair stuck up in tufts and was shot through with grey. As a younger woman, she had never worried about her looks. She’d been blessed with an attractive Slavic face: high cheekbones, smooth skin and almond-shaped green eyes. But those same eyes were beginning to crease at the corners, her forehead bore too many lines and her face was beginning to sag.She looked at a framed photo sitting by the mirror. A handsome, dark-haired man grinned back at her – her late husband Mark. His death was something she felt she would never get over, and this, coupled with the guilt that she was responsible for it, put a skewer through her heart many times each day. What she hadn’t expected was how she would feel about ageing. It was as if they were moving even further apart in her mind. The image of him was frozen in her memories, in pictures. As the years passed, she would morph into an old lady, yet Mark would always be young and good-looking.
A few days ago, when she was driving to work, she’d heard the song ‘Forever Young’ by Alphaville on the radio. She’d had to pull the car over to try and gain control of her emotions.
Erika ran her fingers over the frame for a moment, tracing the outline of Mark’s strong jaw, his nose and his warm brown eyes. She picked the picture up, feeling the weight of the frame in her hand. Opening the top drawer, she stared at her neatly folded underwear, and, lifting the first pile of garments, she went to tuck the framed photo underneath. She hesitated, and pulled her hand back. Closing the drawer, she placed the frame back on the polished wood surface.Death is an enemy few defeat, he said, coming closer. But there is a way to save them, child. They should never have died.
Rose felt her eyes sting with the truth of his words. Her voice wobbled as she asked, How?There is a special object your family possesses. It is the key to saving not only your dear Mama and Papa, but all those around you.
Rose shook her head, trying to bring her hands up to cover her ears. Her arms would not move, not while the man’s words wove around her, coiling and coiling around her until her chest was too tight to breathe.No matter how hard she squeezed her eyes shut, Rose could not shut out images of the things he spoke of. Each word painted the images inside of her mind. Smoke, not the smell of wet grass, filled her lungs. Something hot and metallic-tasting filled her mouth and nearly choked her.