Authors: Brenda L. Harper
BRENDA LEE HARPER
Brenda L. Harper
Copyright © 2014
Published by: Rascal Hearts
All Rights Reserved
. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
For questions and comments about this book, please contact us at
Dylan set Wyatt down in the middle of a field miles from the amusement park. He immediately stepped away from her, stumbling a little as he got his bearings.
“I’m sorry,” she started to say, but he waved his hand at her as though he didn’t want to hear what she had to say. Which was fine. She wasn’t sure she really meant her apology. She had to save them, didn’t she?
I will find you
, a voice insisted in her head.
Dylan’s stomach turned. She lost what little she had eaten that day behind a tree, watching much needed water soak into the dry ground. Wyatt was almost immediately at her side, pulling her long, blonde hair out of the way. And then his arms were around her waist as he led her to a clean, dry place to sit.
“Did you have any idea?” he asked after a few minutes.
Dylan shook her head.
He dragged his fingers through his thick, black curls. “All I keep thinking about is my dad,” he said. “He trusted Davida.”
“A lot of people did.”
Dylan leaned forward and rested her head on her bent knees. She couldn’t stop thinking about her former guardian. Davida had been what Wyatt told her a mother was: someone who sat with her when she was sick, offered her encouragement, guided her through the perils of adolescence. And it had all been a lie.
Just a few weeks ago, Dylan had lived in a domed city where her life was regulated. She knew exactly what was expected of her and how to satisfy that with the least amount of effort. But then, on testing day, the day she was supposed to learn what her role as an adult would be in the city, she was dumped into the middle of the desert, a foreign landscape she knew absolutely nothing about, rescued by Wyatt and Stiles, her friend whom she had thought was a gargoyle but now knew to be an angel, and dragged into this war between the angels and the humans.
Luc and Lily were running the war, a pair of angels who had lived on earth longer than anyone could recall. Lily was ill. Luc and Lily had begun Dylan’s domed city to create a hybrid, a child who was part angel and part human, enough human to resist an illness created by the humans to force the angels back into heaven. Dylan was to be Lily’s salvation, the child who could provide her with the things she needed to survive. At the same time, Dylan was a unique angel who could be used as a weapon to beat Luc and Lily, something the gargoyles wanted to do. Or she could be used to destroy the world, to cleanse it and leave it healthy for the man and woman the benevolent angels imagined would start the human race again, only better.
Dylan had believed that Davida wanted to protect her, that she was working with the humans to not only save them, but to save the hybrids, too. Instead, Davida had been working with Luc and Lily all along. It was always her plan to hand Dylan over to Lily.
And that realization left Dylan wondering if there was anyone she could believe in. Or anything left to fight for.
“I didn’t know Ellie was working with them.”
Dylan turned her head, pressing her temple to her knee as she studied Wyatt’s face. “She tricked me, too.”
He shook his head, as though disgusted with himself. “I should have known,” he said. “I was taught how to pick out the odd ones, the ones whose stories didn’t make sense. I was taught to trust no one…”
“How are you supposed to survive without trust?”
He looked at Dylan. “My dad always said the only person you can truly trust is yourself.”
“But he trusted you. And your mother. And Davida.”
“And look what that did for him.”
Wyatt climbed to his feet and paced a few feet from where she was sitting, snatching a leaf off a low-hanging tree branch and tearing it to pieces between his fingers. “I don’t even know if he’s alive,” he said after a moment, his voice filled with something close to grief.
“He was after the Redcoat attack.”
Wyatt looked sharply at Dylan, his eyes narrowed slightly. “Are you sure?”
“Yes.” She sat up, running her hands over her face. “I saw them. Davida protected them with some sort of force field…I don’t know what it was, but it kept the Redcoats from them.”
She shook her head. “I don’t know, Wyatt. That was all I saw.”
He started to pace again. His hands were shaking, she could see it when he tossed the broken pieces of leaf to the ground. He tore another leaf from the tree, ripped that one up, too. Dylan just watched, aware that anything she said at this point would likely fall on deaf ears. He was hurt and angry. Wyatt had just learned that his mother, a woman he had seen lying dead in a pool of her own blood, was still alive and healthy. She wasn’t human, wasn’t the woman he had thought she was. And now Davida had turned on them. He wasn’t particularly happy about Davida’s relationship with his father, but he respected her. She had been with his group for more than three years. She was the closest thing he’d had to a step-mother.
Dylan realized they had both lost a mother today.
“That thing you do,” he said, gesturing toward her, “when you talk to me in my head. How do you do that?”
Dylan shrugged. “I just focus on you, on some happy moment we had together, and it just happens.”
“Can you do that with my dad?”
“I don’t think so,” she said, shaking her head slowly. “But you might be able to.”
He stopped pacing and his head came up, his eyes hard as he studied her face. “Why would you say that?”
“You’re just like me, Wyatt.”
He shook his head roughly, his movements almost violent as he turned from her, returning to his pacing path. “I am not like you.”
“Your mother is an angel.”
“That doesn’t make me like you.”
Dylan climbed to her feet and walked to him, grabbing his arm as he tried to move past her. “It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
He laughed, but there was no humor in the sound. “My father grew up in this war, Dylan,” he said quietly. “He saw angels swoop down on the city where he lived and destroy everything that mattered to him. They used fireballs and swords to kill every living soul in the town. Five years old and he watched his entire family die. It’s not something that is easy to forget.” He pulled his arm away from Dylan’s grip but didn’t step back. In fact, he seemed anxious to stay close to her, for her to see the earnestness in his eyes. “I’ve heard that story so many times since I was little. He hated angels with a passion that was only rivaled by his love for my mom.”
“He loves you. If you told him—”
“It would kill him to know my mom was one of those creatures he so detested.”
“But he trusted Davida.”
“Because he thought she was a victim, just like him. He thought she had been created in a laboratory and that she only had enough angel in her to make her useful.”
“You scared him to death,” Wyatt said. “He expected you to wake up one morning and kill everyone in the camp. The only reason you weren’t in chains was because Davida threatened to leave if he did that.”
Dylan’s eyes narrowed slightly as she studied him, as she remembered how he had so easily turned against her when he learned she hadn’t told him all she knew about Stiles.
“Did you believe that, too?” she asked quietly.
Wyatt returned her stare, studied her for a long minute. “I didn’t know what to think. When I first saw you, I didn’t think you could be what I was told all the kids from Genero were. You seemed so…normal, somehow. Innocent, but normal.”
“When you healed yourself, it freaked me out.”
“Me, too,” she admitted. “I didn’t know I could do that.”
He cocked an eyebrow, clearly unsure if he could believe her. But he reached up, hesitated a second, and then caressed her cheek lightly. “You still freak me out,” he said. “But I figure if you wanted to hurt me, you would have done it a long time ago.”
“That was spoken with an overwhelming amount of confidence,” she said, a little bitterness slipping into her voice. She had thought Wyatt was one of the few who didn’t see her as the weird sort of hybrid everyone else saw. Maybe she had been wrong.
But then he tilted his head slightly and said, “How about this: I trust you, Dylan. And I don’t trust anyone. You know that.”
“I want to trust you, too,” she said. “I’m just—”
He kissed her before she could finish whatever it was she was going to say. It wasn’t the rough, passionate kiss he had given her before. This time it was softer, gentler. Made her wish she had toothpaste and a toothbrush. Made her wish she hadn’t kissed Stiles just a day ago. That she wasn’t still processing that kiss, that whole set of emotions.
She stepped back. She reached up and touched her lips, tried not to see the momentary confusion in his eyes. “We have to decide what we’re going to do next.”
He turned slightly. “I think we have to find my dad.”
Dylan pushed Wyatt’s shoulders.
“Lay flat,” she said. “You have to be relaxed.”
“Are you sure this will work?”
“No.” She looked down at him, frustration making her honest. “I’ve never tried it with someone I know is human. I’ve never tried it with anyone but you, Davida, and Sam.”
She shrugged. “We got separated. I wanted to check in on him, make sure he was okay. But something blocked me.”
Wyatt started to sit up again. “What?”
She pushed him back down. “Don’t know. I heard a woman talking to him, and then the connection broke and I couldn’t get it back.”
“Is it possible for something to block your abilities?”
She shrugged again. “Close your eyes. Try to focus on something pleasant you shared with your dad.”
“Easier said than done.”
She ran her hand over his eyes. “Relax. Just think about your dad. Something good will come.”
She watched as he settled down. His eyes stayed closed this time, and he crossed his hands over his heart, even crossed his ankles, as though trying to make a point to her about his level of relaxation. She pressed her hand to his forehead, thinking that if she imagined him talking to his father, it might help. She closed her own eyes and let that sense of floating slip through her, that one that often came before she moved into her ethereal form or slipped into Wyatt’s mind. Her fingers began to tingle.
“What are you doing?” he mumbled.
Dylan didn’t speak. She was already drifting into his mind, sifting through his memories of his father. A part of her felt guilty, but not enough to stop. They needed a focus, a place to go. And they needed to do it before Davida and her group discovered where they were and tried to grab them again.
Wyatt found a memory. He was a small child walking with both his parents out in a field somewhere, one parent on either side, each holding one of his hands. They were swinging him between their bodies. Little Wyatt was laughing and squealing, his voice rising each time his body did. Dylan found herself focusing on Jimmy in the dream. She had never seen him smile before, let alone laugh, so carefree, as he did in the memory. It made her see him in a different light. As more of a man who had lost too much than as the cold leader he had become.