Authors: Brigitte Ann Thomas
A Thousand Years
Brigitte Ann Thomas
2014 Brigitte Ann Thomas
All rights reserved.
To Michelle, Amber, Tamara, LeAnna and Kaiti for always listening to my crazy ideas and giving me the encouragement and the strength to write this book and publish it on my own.
To my wonderful husband for being there, halfway listening as I ramble about my writing, and loving me even in my most difficult moments.
To my family and friends for always supporting my dream..
March 5, 2014
He was fuming. Suddenly, his blood practically boiling in his veins, Eadric Bishop pushed away from the bar he was sitting at and stormed outside. That was it. He couldn't sit there any longer and watch her dance with another man. It was eating him up from the inside out.
The undulation of her hips to the music had him harder than he had been in centuries – too bad she wasn’t dancing with him. Eadric desperately needed to be the one she was rubbing up against.
His fangs dropped into his mouth just thinking about how much he would like to have her body writhing, clutching those hips. He reluctantly shook the image away as he tried to get a grip on the emotions ripping through his chest.
The rational part of his brain had gone dormant as the illogical part told him to go over to her and throw the man as far away from her as he could within the confines of the club, toss her over his shoulder and leave. No one, NO ONE, touched her like that but him.
A burning heat behind his eyes told him that they were glowing red from the anger still pulsing through him as he slipped into the driver’s seat of his car. He couldn’t go back into the club until he got a better handle on his emotions.
er, a familiar voice called in Eadric Bishop’s mind. The touch was tentative, yet probing, waiting to see what kind of temperament Eadric was in before he spoke again.
Josef was the only one who would even dream of bothering him when he was in a bad mood. Josef called it checking to make sure you’re okay, Eadric called it pissing me off.
He had tried every threat in the book to get Josef to stop, and each failed. He was close to having to put the threats into action. Maybe taking off a finger or six would finally drive his threats home. They would grow back eventually. Perhaps.
I am not your brother, Josef
, he answered, pushing his annoyance behind his words.
What do you want? I’m busy
. Sitting in the driver’s seat of his car, Eadric held the steering wheel hard, waiting for his eyes to return to normal and his anger to settle to a more manageable level.
Everyone calls each other ‘brother;’ now. Besides, it sounds better than great-great-great grandfather, right?
A low growl radiated through Eadric’s throat, echoing in his thoughts loud enough to make Josef wince at his house on the other side of the country.
Get to the point, boy
. His nerves were already on end. Josef was the last person he was in the mood to deal with at that moment. Josef’s strange sense of humor and exuberant youthfulness were exhausting.
Who pissed in your blood tonight? Or is the problem that you haven’t eaten yet?
Josef asked, his playful tone slipping a little. Eadric was always a little crabby, but Josef could tell that something bigger was going on with him. Dropping the teasing, Josef sent a wave of calming his great-great-great-grandfather's way.
Then the answer hit him. It was twenty-one years to the date.
You’re with her, aren’t you?
Josef asked, shock and understanding seeping through the mental bond.
Eadric was silent for a moment, gathering his bearings. He had found her three years ago, saw her in the flesh for the first time in several lifetimes and watched her grow into a beautiful woman. How could he reconcile all the feelings he had held back for centuries with the new emotions that came from seeing her again?
, he finally responded. A huge outpouring of happiness, excitement, and wonder filled him.
Josef hesitated a moment.
Then why are you so angry. You have your sonuachar, your soul mate. She’s finally within your grasp again. You should be praising the gods and taking her into your arms. Not throwing a temper tantrum and yelling at me.
Eadric clenched and unclenched his fists a few times, still gripping the steering wheel with as much of his might as it could handle. She wasn’t within his grasp. She was busy grinding with an over-cologned, drunken frat boy while he was sitting in his car sulking like a child. If he needed any proof that she wasn’t his anymore, there it was, and it was burning him up.
Anabell, he learned was her name, looked nothing like the wife he had lost at the end of his mortal lifetime. Instead of a blonde-haired, green-eyed Amazon woman, Anabell had shoulder-length brown hair with the thickest curls he had ever seen. Her eyes were hazel, on the amber side of the spectrum. And she was tiny. If they were ever face to face, she would come up to his pecks. Still, her body was curvy in all of the best places – perfectly designed to drive him wild.
Anabell was just as beautiful as Deirdre had been all those years ago. She was just a different kind of perfect.
Eadric had felt her presence the moment she was born back into the world, but the rules didn’t allow him to seek her out until her eighteenth birthday.
Since then, he kept a regular eye on her, waiting until it was the right time to approach her. So far, it had never been the right time. He was afraid that he would come on too strong and lose her forever. So, he promised himself, that he would wait until her twenty-first birthday before he attempted to approach her.
So far, he had been too much of a weakling to actually meet her. But the longer he waited, the more impatient he got. He was nearly to his limit.
She may be my soul mate, mo bhuachaill, but that does not automatically make her mine. Our souls are bound and will forever feel each other’s pull, but she has to choose me. That’s how it’s always been. Why do you think the Soulless ones exist?
Eadric slammed the mental bond shut and made sure that it was locked so tight no one could slip in until he decided that was what he wanted.
Sitting there, he flashed back to the moment that he first made the deal that simultaneously saved and sold his soul forever.
His clan had been in the middle of a bloody dispute with one of the neighboring clans over land or animals or whatever petty reason was important at the time. And his beloved wife, Deirdre had recently given birth to the youngest child, a son who was only a couple months old when it happened.
Dunstan, one of his men, had been keeping watch when a group of heavily armed men came up over the hill into their land. He was quick to rally Eadric and the best fighters that they had close by. The threat of another major battle was too much to risk. They had to stop it at the beginning – while it was small and manageable.
The two groups met with a thunderous roar of swords on swords, shields, and human flesh and bones. All of the men evenly matched, going blow for blow, parry for parry, until it came to a stalemate, and the opposing clansmen retreated to the safety of the woods as they ran for home.
Eadric and his men chased them down, more familiar with the area, and killed each of them, so none could return to attack another day.
What he didn't realize at the time was the battle had robbed the castle of its best men and, thereby, its defenses. Deirdre and their six children were home with nothing but a midwife, the workers that kept the household moving, and one armed guard that never left.
They returned home at a normal, more leisurely pace to find the bloodiest scene that Eadric had seen in his near millennium walking the Earth. His wife, his eldest two sons and his three daughters, who were all under ten years old, and all of the people who worked in the castle save one laid there dead.
The guard and servants took the brunt of the attack. Two died with swords still in their hands.
Rushing over to his wife, Eadric cradled her body in his lap while the rest of the men were checking for signs of life in his children and the others. He knew that they were already dead, and he couldn’t bear to look at their lifeless eyes again.
"Deirdre, you can't do this to me," he cried into her long, blood-wet blonde hair. The softest sound escaped from her mouth as he sobbed. It was barely a whisper, but he heard it.
"Let me go," she whispered as the last ray of light left her eyes and she fell completely limp in his arms. Eadric screamed with the fury of ten thousand men, frightening his warriors. They carefully removed his wife's body from his lap and hauled him up onto his feet.
"Let us get you inside, sire," Dunstan said, urging Eadric to take his own weight. No man should have been forced to find his family butchered.
Three men held him up, but he was stronger than all of them as he pushed them off his arms and sent them away – to check on their own families.
Running into the castle, Eadric searched from top to bottom to find his youngest child. There was no sign of him, though, driving his grief further. They had to have taken him. Just a tiny babe.
Eadric dropped to his knees in the middle of his son's room and cursed every god whose name he could recall as he swore to hunt down every member of the clan that tricked him. In that moment, he was struck to the floor as light flooded the entire room.
"Cursing the gods will not bring your wife back to you, Eadric. You'll only condemn yourself to a life worse than the lowest pits of hell. Gods are cruel and fickle beings – don’t give them a reason to meddle in your life further," a voice said from the corner of the room.
Once he could fully see again, Eadric stood up and faced him. Even though he looked like an ordinary man, Eadric knew better. He could tell that he was in the presence of a god.
"My life is already condemned. What can your gods do that is worse than the loss of my family? Bring it on!" Eadric barely finished when he flew off his feet, carried back into a stone wall by an invisible force.
"There is plenty, Celt." The god in disguise moved from one side of the room to the other, his feet barely touching the ground, to stand in front of Eadric.
"Which god are you?" His tone was laced with venom, earning him another trip to the back wall.
"I am Lugh, God of war and prophecy, knowledge and the arts. Most importantly, I am the god of reincarnation, revenge, and magick - three things you seem to need right now. If you would be willing to make a deal with me, that is." Lugh offered a hand to Eadric and helped him to his feet.
Despite the fact that he was standing in the presence of a god, Eadric puffed up his chest and took a step forward in challenge once he was righted. He was in no mood for any of the gods. They stood by while he lost everyone he loved. The only way Lugh could help him was to turn the day back and let him redo the entire thing. That was the only thing he wanted.
It was pure self-preservation that kept him from telling Lugh to take the offer and stick it somewhere far away from him.
"What kind of offer?" Eadric growled.
Lugh brandished a pendant from thin air and stuck it into Eadric's hand. A triquetra enclosed in a circle.
"You are not the first warrior whose heart has cried out for revenge against the person that slayed his soul mate. You're not even in the first thousand. Tell me, would you do anything it takes to have your revenge on those who wiped out your family and have you soul reunited with hers? To have a second chance at the happiness that was stolen from you?" The fire in Eadric's eyes told him everything he needed to know.
"Even give up your very soul?" Eadric's eyes went dark, squeezing his hand around the pendant.
"That's what I like to hear."